Portsmouth City Council's fostering service Foster Portsmouth has launched a new myth busting campaign to encourage the public to think about if they could be a foster carer and apply to foster. The campaign aims to show that there is no such thing as a typical foster carer.

Cllr Horton, Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education, said: “Demographic data is not taken into consideration when determining what makes a good foster carer. There are a lot of misconceptions around the eligibility criteria for fostering, so I encourage you to learn more about the requirements before talking yourself out of applying. You can become a foster carer no matter your age, gender, relationship status, work status or sexual orientation.

“Sadly, there are a lot of you who would make wonderful foster parents in the future but are deterred by the numerous myths and misconceptions you’ve heard or don’t recognise that you have the abilities, experience, and character to positively impact multiple lives.

“We encourage people with the following qualities to step up and foster: a calm demeanour; the capacity to control one’s emotions; communication skills; a great deal of love, patience, and resilience; and the ability to handle disagreements. If this sounds like you, please come forward and apply to foster. There are many children in Portsmouth that require a safe and loving home.”

The top three myths surrounding who can foster are:  

  • Myth #1: Single people can’t foster
    • You can be married, single, living together, in a civil partnership or divorced to foster.
  • Myth #2: You need children of your own to be able to foster
    • Whilst experience of raising children into adulthood is valuable, it’s not necessary to become a foster carer.
  • Myth #3: You must be a certain age to foster
    • You can apply to be a foster carer from the age of 21, we welcome applicants of all ages.

Emma and Chris, foster carers in Portsmouth, became foster carers at a young age. Emma says: “My husband and I were approved 13 years ago when we were 23 and 25 years old. Some of the first young people we cared for were teenagers who were going through difficult times in their lives and were finding it difficult to open up.

Being younger helped us relate to them a little better and make a connection quickly through similar interests, such as the type of music they listened to or films they’d recently seen as we were interested ourselves.”

Visit Foster Portsmouth to learn more about other fostering myths.